Meat Preserve Pie
Awarma is an important aspect of mountain life. This meat preserve was done in yesteryears when the sheep was slain in the center of the village. It was the villager's winter meat reserve. Today, the recipe is simple. It is quite tasty, but I warn you, it is on the heavier side. (From the author of Man’oushé)
For the awarma:
1 kg (32oz - 4 cups) of fat from lamb meat roughly chopped)
1/2 kg (16oz - 2 cups) of lean meat from lamb meat finely grinded or chopped into bite-size pieces.
2 1/2 teaspoons of crystallized sea salt
Yields a jar of approximately 2 kg (4 lb)
For the pie:
400 g (16oz – 2 cups) of prepared meat preserve (approximately 3 tablespoons for each pie)
Yield 4 pies.
Start with the dough. Divide into 4 equal pieces.
1. To make the meat preserve, pour 1/2 cup of water in a heavy-bottomed casserole. This will keep the fat from sticking to the surface of the casserole. Add the fat from the lamb meat. Cook it on medium heat, until it melts.
2. When the fat is completely melted, add the lean meat to the fat, breaking up the pieces well. The meat has to cook thoroughly and evenly. Stir constantly.
3. Cool down the mixture and store in a sterilized jar. This mixture can last for up to one year, if refrigerated.
4. It is advisable if you are using a hot griddle or a convex disk to put the awarma in the middle, wait until it melts for about 30 seconds, then to spread it evenly. This method will avoid any running fat on the cooking surface. The time of cooking depends on source of heat; 3 to 5 minutes should be enough.
5. If the cooking method to be used is the conventional cooking oven preheat the oven to 200 oC (400 oF- Gas mark 6). Spread the topping on the dough and bake for 7 to 10 minutes.
6. Serve the pies hot.
When cooking the awarma, you may add a whole piece of onion to the pot. This helps reduce scum and adds a light flavor to the cooked meat. You may add sweet black pepper and cinnamon to the meat preserve while it is cooking.